Friday, 18 December 2009

Keeping myself busy

It has been almost a month since my last entry. I guess I'm keeping myself busy in line with the intention not to think so much of this BC (if you could recall from my previous entry).

Looking back at the calendar, we had our Eid on the 27th Nov, 2009. As usual, I went back to my hometown the day before; quite an early bird to reach home, on time to become a chauffeur for my mom, driving her to the market to get raw produce for our big feast. Coming back from the market, I was on special task - to anyam the ketupat. For the benefit of my non-malay readers, ketupat is actually rice cake that is boiled in the coconut leaves. Of course we have to weave the coconut leave into a container to hold the rice in. This is how it looks like.

We didn't spend lots of time at our hometown; the night of the Eid, we were back home giving way for Aina to study for her exam.

To fill up the weekend, we tried our luck fishing at Laguna Park again. I managed to catch some small fish which ended up on our table the next day :-)

Other than that, since this is a school holiday which is a perfect time for weddings, we attended a wedding that was held in the city center. The uniqueness about it is that it's overlooking the twin tower :-) Having attended that, I guess this would be the last wedding in the city center that we ever attended as we got lost almost an hour looking for the place.

I also helped my sister making curry puffs when she gets big orders. The last order was for 400 pieces! I stayed till 12.30 am and called it the day as we had to leave early for our picnic the next day.

Actually the intention was to find a good spot for fishing. We went down until Tg Tuan to look for a place and found one good spot where we stopped and started fishing. We didn't get any but the we found this spot where fishermen came back with their produce. Next time, if we couldn't catch any, we can just buy fresh fish from the fishermen :-)

This last picture was at a shopping mall nearby, while looking for fabrics and uniforms for the kids for school next year.

Pictures tell thousand words...These pictures are raw from my handphone and has not been edited yet. I hope it's enough to update what I'm up to now...

Monday, 23 November 2009

A bit relax

Kids are on year end school holiday and I'm a bit relax for not having to drive them to and from school. They are now at their grandmother's in my hometown while my eldest is still struggling for her SPM. It's just the two of us at home, enjoying the privacy of our own home. A good therapy don't you think? :-)

I thought I'd have to present my progress at a colloquium tomorrow but that too will not happen as they are not able to slot me in. They are arranging a special one in January when my supervisor from UK will come down and visit me here. Still long way to go huh. In the meantime, I'd just continue with my current work, hoping to strike an idea on my next project.

We will be celebrating another Eid (for Haj) this Friday. This Eid will forever touch my heart as it reminds me of my own experience performing the Haj 11 years back. I have recently added a link to this blog by a guy who is working there and he is giving current updates on what's happening there. Few friends of mine are performing their Haj this year, at least I know what they are up to.

Other than that, I'm hoping to get the cendawan susu harimau (mushroom) from a friend. Recently my sister called to inform that the mushroom (or its scientific name Lignosus rhinocerus) can help cure BC. It's quite expensive though. I thought it should be as the mushroom is a scarce resource as it is believed that it grows on the spot where the tiger milk spilt. One has to go to the jungle to get it, of course risking his life too. But I heard in a recent biotech conference that they are trying to culture and mass produce the mushroom with the help of biotech. I hope it will materialize and by then, the mushroom would not be so expensive thus, there will be hope for cancer sufferer like me.

My green project is well on the way; yesterday I bought one more soursop small plant to be planted at my mum's. The seller assured that it will bear fruit in a year. So soon? I hope it's true! Since its now a rainy season, the brinjal seeds that I planted have grown and ready to be transfered to a bigger space. The asparagus seeds have not shown any sign of growing. I guess I have to get my supply of asparagus from the market huh :-)

All in all, I'm feeling great - having good appetite, good sleep and nothing to complain about. And for that, Alhamdulillah...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Chemical Hazard - Paracetamol

I'm having a bit of a period pain but I don't dare taking panadol, following an email that I received recently about the chemical hazard of paracetamol. Even doctors don't dare to take panadol when they encounter pain and resort to alternative medicine instead. Why? Because panadol is toxic and can damage our liver. Once taken, it stays in the body for at least 5 years! Huwwwwaaa, what have happened to all the medications that I have taken so far...

If you have migraine or headache, it is because of the imbalance of positive and negative ions in the brain cells. The remedy is to dilute 1:1 or 1:2 of an isotonic drink with water. For example, dilute a cup of isotonic drink with one or two cups of water and drink it. I have never tried it before and will experiment it when the need arises. I seldom get a headache as I'm wearing a magnetic bracelet and I guess it has sorted out the imbalance. Another tip is to soak the feet in warm water to let the blood flows to the feet.

Last week my friend called asking for suggestions for her unsettled flu/cough/asthma. Her chinese friends have asked her to go and get sengseh (chinese medicine) for that. I remembered an email of a chinese medication of swine flu. Since it is within the range of respiratory area, I suggested to her the star anise, the base formulation for tamiflu. Boil 9 star anise with 6 glasses of water in an earthern pot for 30-40 minutes, until 4 cups left. She called me again last Thursday, telling me of her experience. Being a bit more creative, she added ginger to the formula, and she is much better now. Jokingly, I asked her to add some curry, put some chicken into it, and there you go - ready to eat with rice :-)

Curry sounds tempting. My husband is on his way to a fishing trip again. Pray that he will get lots of fish this time so that we can have fresh fish head curry again as per picture below.

Yummy eh...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Diabetic is more serious than cancer?

I was watching MHI while having breakfast this morning. There was a session about diabetes to commemorate the world diabetic day this weekend. There were two invited speakers for the session and to my surprise, one of them mentioned that diabetic is more serious than cancer. Walla! At least there are more serious diseases than what I'm having now. So, why worry? I've never checked my insulin level, I hope it's still at a normal level. I know of a few friends who are diabetic. Well, I guess we have to take care of what we eat huh. I never knew that diabetic can affect the heart too, I thought it will only affect the eyes and the kidney, on top of cutting off fingers or foot when it turned black and can't be cured anymore.

Speaking of cutting, last Friday, I went to visit my friend who has recently been diagnosed with BC. The lump was quite big and since it is quite aggressive, she has no choice. It has been a month since the operation and her hand still felt tight. She is not able to drive a car just as yet because of that. The scar is also not a pleasant view and I felt my stomach squeezed by looking at it. As long as I can stand it, I'd rather go for alternatives and not put my self on the OT bed. That is really scary...

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Happy birthday to me...

How young? Well, a man that I met while eating at a warung(eating place :-) last weekend thought that I was 35. What a compliment - I look 8 years younger! I told him my eldest is already 17 and he really didn't believe it.

I'm glad that I've reached this age so far and hoping that there will be many more years to come. Double the age? Who knows... My grandmother died at 80 plus, my mother is still alive at 72.

I've been reading birthday wishes from my friends in yahoogroup & FB and felt so touched reading each and every well wishes. TQ all for the birthday wishes.

What about present? None just as yet but every year, I do buy present for myself. This year I bought for myself a biokitchen compost, a product by biosense. It is actually a container that we can use to decompose our leftovers and with the help of catalyst, will turn the leftovers into fertilizer. The fertilizer will then be used to fertilize my plants. I plan to grow my own vegetables too and let's see whether it will materialize :-)

What does this have to do with my BC? Well, I read a link posted by a reader recently ( that it helps by not focusing on the cancer related issues. I'm diverting my focus to concentrate on overall health now - eat well, and enjoy life.

The focus and the thoughts should point to health, well-being and vitality, positive affirmation, nature, exercise and fun. Laughing increases the immune system activity immediately.

As for the follow up, the doctor referred me to a breast surgeon. I don't think I'll have the surgery - I ran away from one and I'm not going to volunteer for one now :-) Whether I have a surgery or not, the chances of recurrence are still there. I've experienced it before and I would not be that ignorant to notice any changes in my own body. After all, we are our own doctor.

Coming back to the link mentioned above, I like the ending part :

When we change our thinking, behavior, believe system and the way we treat ourselves and this planet, than there is a cure.

If you believe your disease is incurable, then it is incurable.
If you believe your disease is curable, then it is curable.

I definitely believe that this disease is curable, Insya'Allah...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Menstruating again

Just as I have expected, I'm menstruating again. I had the sign few weeks back and here it is, 5 mths after my last one. I thought I was going through a menopause already :-) Well, am I happy or sad about it? I'd be happy if the cancer cells are all gone and I would not have to go through the aging process too soon. I'd be sad if the cancer cells are still there. I'm ER positive and with the presence of estrogen, it really is badddd. I now have to double dose my lemon grass tea intake!

We'll just have to wait and see whether it's good or bad. My husband is getting the GL for me to go to the hospital soon. In the meantime, I'm tolerating with the backpain, it feels really weird...

Monday, 19 October 2009

HER2 negative ER positive

I went to the GP this morning to get a reference letter to go to the hospital. While waiting for my turn to see the doctor, I read again the report from my previous doctor. To my surprise, I found that my HER2 is actually negative and not positive as I thought so. What a relief! The estrogen receptor is positive which is also a good news. I'll have the endocrine treatment as ER positive will respond well to the anti-estrogen therapies. A quote from a website, "If you have an ER-positive cancer, you may respond well to tamoxifen, a drug that works by blocking the estrogen receptors on the breast tissue cells and slowing their estrogen-fuelled growth".

Well, it doesn't really matter actually whether I'm ER positive or negative as deep down I really hope that I wouldn't have to take any more drugs after this. In actual fact, I decided to go to the hospital just to check whether the cancer still exists. I came to know that a friend of mine, aged 38 with four kids, eldest 13 and youngest 2 has recently been diagnosed with BC and she just had her mastectomy recently.

Well, BC is quite common nowadays. Recent statistics, every 1 out of 14 women in this country are having it. The doctor that I met just now said his wife had it way back in 1996, had her mastectomy and chemo etc and is keeping herself busy, enjoying life. It's a matter of when you discover it and how you seek treatment for it...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Uric acid and urine

I was googling yesterday to find out why I am having this pain on the forefoot especially when I get up in the morning. My personal doctor, my hubby, suspected that it could be because of cold. The body heat is released through the feet when I sleep at night and he suggested that I wear stokings at night. I practise it although it really feels uncomfortable because it is hot here.

Although I wear stokings at night, the pain still exists. Could this be a sign of mild gout? I came across this blog about treating gout and discovered another indicator that is really useful. Gout is caused by a lot of uric acid in the body and it is washed away through the urine. And the indicator is when the urine looks bubbly, it shows that the body has lots of uric acid. Since then, I have been watching my urine to see whether it's bubbly or not :-). My first observation showed that it is not. Coming back to the treatment of gout, the author suggests to drink 2 liters of water everyday. I guess I should drink more water from now on. I used to drink 8 glasses of water in the morning 10 years back, got the idea from circulated emails about water treatment, believed to cure all diseases. I remember I had to stop by at the LRT station everyday to pee before boarding the LRT to go to work in KL.

Drinking lots of water seems like an easy thing to do. I should unpack my ionizer to ionize my drinking water as well. Double the effect, I hope the pain will go away. I probably will try misai kucing tea too, in addition to what I'm taking now. These anti oxidants will certainly be good to cure the cancer...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Ramadhan, Syawal and now

It’s almost a month since my last entry. Well, I just could not find the right time to write and post it in this blog. I’ll recall what I was up to since the last entry.

Towards the end of Ramadhan, I was busy doubling the effort in search of Lailatul Qadar. Alhamdulillah, during the month of Ramadhan I managed to perform the Tarawikh prayer everyday at the mosque except day 1 & 2 (we went back to our hometown), day 16 ( unloading stuff from the container) and day 19 (husband was not feeling well). So far, this was the best Ramadhan ever coz’ I was able to fast for the whole month. The best tarawikh nights were during day 27 when the Imam recited the last juzuk of the Qura’an, day 28 being the Friday night, and day 29,the last day, when we had reciting of Qura’an as a group. We broke our fast at the mosque as well, during that day.

Right after the last tarawikh, we went back to our hometown, reached there around 3 am. The traveling was smooth although there were lots of cars. During the last day of Ramadhan, we usually cook a big feast. I have missed it for two years and really enjoyed this one. Since my big sisters were not back yet, I had to do the tough jobs – cut 8 whole chickens into pieces and cut off 7 kgs of meat! You could imagine how tiring it was. But it was really worth it. During the breaking of fast, my doa was for me to meet the next Ramadhan, Insya’Allah.

Raya was celebrated with the Aidilfitri prayer in the morning, and asking for forgiveness from everybody. This is quite a touching moment especially for me having gone through this BC. Aunties and uncles came to visit; they were really thrilled to see me since they knew that I was not well. Days after, were spent visiting families and friends. My mother has 15 brothers and sisters and few days were not enough to visit them all.

We went back to our home after spending a week at our hometown. Too bad, I had a terrible skin infection - rashes and skin inflammation all over the body. My best bet was I was allergic to the bamboo trees that I passed through while surveying a piece of land for sale. I went to the pharmacy to get the anti-histamine and Alhamdullillah, the rashes is settled in a few days. My skin is now back to normal. While having it, somehow it struck into my mind that it could be a skin cancer. Being worried, I now have resumed drinking my lemon grass tea. Hopefully it will kill off the traces of cancer cells in my body. Although the lump is gone, I still take the extra virgin olive oil, the black seed oil and the hempedu bumi capsule. So far, I’m feeling good. I have yet to go for the follow up, maybe one of these days. Frankly, I like to believe that the cancer is now gone and I don’t bother to go and check. After all, everyone of us has cancer cells in our body. So why worry…

Friday, 11 September 2009

Meeting friends

One of the interesting things that happened this week was a visit to my friend’s house in Kajang. I went with my other friend and over there I met another friend that made four of us ex-secondary school mates. Two of them I have not met since I left school. Imagine how much we had to catch up! Few hours were not enough and of course, we will be seeing each other again soon.

What did my friends say about me? Thank God, they said I don’t look sick at all. Meeting friends, giggling and laughing made me even much better. It’s really a natural therapy and all of us really enjoyed it.

So what did old girls talk about at this age? Well, mainly about health and how to stay gorgeous :-). There are few good tips too and worth sharing in this blog. The best one is the 6484 breathing technique; Inhale in the count of 6, hold in the count of 4, release in the count of 8, and hold in the count of 4. Do it as much as you can or at least 100 times a day. As I wrote previously about the lack of half moon on our nails being the sign of lack of oxygen, we managed to compare each other nails. Among us, I lack the half moon which shows I need to put into practice this 6484 breathing technique.

The other important thing is about belacan (shrimp paste) being one of the culprit. Too bad, I can’t resist not having belacan in my cooking. I have missed it when I was in the UK but over here, I have ample supply. Sambal tumis and asam pedas will not be very tasty without belacan. Well, I’d rather enjoy good food and for that, I’m willing to take the chances and continue using belacan in my cooking. I believe if we take it in moderation, it will not do any harm. On top of it, I will take something else to nutralise the toxin if there be.

One of the reasons for meeting my friend was to pick up the hempedu bumi or the scientific name - andrographis paniculata. I came across a site on this and you can refer to this for further information . Another malay name for this is akar cerita. They say the taste of this herpedu bumi is bitter. In malay we say, pahitnya tak boleh cerita! Hence, akar cerita :-). My friend said the hempedu bumi is also sold in capsule. Ahhh, what a better solution - I got mine already while shopping for my groceries just now. I’ll start taking it tonight.

TQ Ina for driving me there and for the shifa’ dates. Thanks Zerque for the tips and last but not least, thank you Yan for hosting us and for the yummy raya pineapple tarts!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

People's impression when they see me...

It has been three weeks since I get back. Frankly, I have not seen lots of people just as yet. With the pandemic going on, it's not advisable to socialize. Friends welcome me home through Facebook. A better way to do it, don't you think?

I get to meet some of my families during the first week of Ramadhan. What are their impressions on me? My sis-in-law said I gain some weight. Could this be one of the causes of me getting cancer? Well, it could be. I was around 62kg then. With the fasting and everyday massaging on the ceragem, I proudly announce that I shed some kgs and I hope I can loose somemore so that I look nice with my baju kurung for Eid :-)

When I met my side of the family, I straight away took off my scarf and showed them my almost bald head. I told them that this is my summer fashion and everyone laughed. But deep in their heart I know they feel sad for me. My mom said I really look like my late father. As I posted before, he used to do chemo too for his non-hodgkin lymphoma disease. I don't mind having a bald head. My husband said I have the same fashion as one of the top model that I can't recall her name at this moment :-)

To those who are undergoing chemo or about to do chemo, don't be sad of loosing your hair. It's a fun experience as we can't have it without the chemo. My kids like to touch my head and they envy the soft hair that I have at the moment. Come to think of it, I kind of like my hair this way as it is very convenient for me to shower and not having to comb my hair after that. It's even more convenient while praying as I can be really sure that no hair comes out of my praying costume.

I bet when I see more of my friends they don't even notice the difference. My eyebrow and eyelashes has also grown to its fullest and I don't look sick at all. My nails have turned pinkish again. Nails grow really fast here; my husband's theory is that cells grow very fast over here, we age faster too. I hope the healthy cell grow fast and not the cancer cell...

Friday, 28 August 2009

I’m feeling gooood…

Well, this is my first entry for the month of August. I’ve been keeping myself busy; early of the month preparing for the presentation at the conference in Dublin, and packing for home, right after.

We touched down on 16th of August, 2009, greeted by close relatives. They left soon after they sent us home. Unbelievably, the H1N1 (swine flu) is even worse here, people are wearing face masks. Unfortunately, my workplace is one of the high risk area with one death case reported so far.

I haven’t been to the hospital for a follow up on my cancer. The hospitals are now packed with H1N1 cases and hospital would be the last place I would visit. I’m feeling good and I don’t want to risk myself with other kind of sickness :-)

Food to help cure cancer are easy to find here. I bought my first soursop last week at Carrefour nearby. It really feels good to eat it fresh compared to the powdered one that I used to mix with my morning coffee. Asparagus is also available but I have not bought any yet as my blender is still on the way. Lemon grass can be found in abundance. During our last visit to my sister-in-law’s house, she gave me lots of lemon grass and I have planted some in my garden. During this fasting month, I can’t find the good time to drink my lemon grass tea and infact I seldom drink hot beverage because it’s hot here – I either drink plain water or iced beverages.

Other than food, I’m massaging on my ceragem everyday. Ceragem is a massage bed where it has hot jade balls to massage our body around 40 minutes per session. I use the external balls to massage my breast. I hope it will kill the cancer cells - same effect as the radiation would be. The lump has gone; if there is, it really is tiny and I’m not worried about it at all.

As for exercise, frankly speaking, I don’t do a proper exercise during this Ramadhan month. My only exercise is the tarawih prayer that I perform at Masjid Al-Falah everyday. For the benefit of my non-muslim friend, tarawih prayer is an additional prayer that we do during the month of Ramadhan. At Masjid Al-Falah, the Imam reads a chapter (juzuk) of the Al-Qur’an everyday. The total of 23 rakaat takes around two hours to complete. I sweat a lot; hopefully the toxins is get rid off together with the sweats…

I should say I’ve settled down comfortably at my home sweet home and embracing Ramadhan as if this would be my last…

Friday, 31 July 2009

Hair starts to grow

Six weeks after my last chemo, the hair starts to grow. The new hair looks very fine and I can still see my scalp clearly. At the rate of one centimeter per month, by the time we celebrate our Eid (raya le) I will have my punk head! It will be thrilled to see from bald to short hair as since my teen, I always wear my hair long.

The last few weeks before I leave for home, have been busy weeks for me. The packing is over as we finally loaded our boxes into the container last Monday. The house is clear and my other half likes it very much as he can move freely in the house! When packing is done, we are now busy accommodating friends' invitations. Last Sunday Mashitah invited us for dinner - double invite (jemput) I should say and Khairi had to pick us up from home because we have no car to drive there. Today, Rin is inviting us for dinner, tomorrow Wan and the day after, Asz. Wow! I can easily gain few kgs by the time I go back to my home country...

I now have to prepare my slides for the presentation at the conference. Do I have butterflies in my stomach? Of course I do. In fact, off late my blood pressure increases to a surprising level. I had a tip from Sya during lunch just now, to take air asam gelugur to quickly reduce the blood pressure. I'll try it when I get back and hope it works. Since the last two days, I have been having pain around the chest area; felt like heartburn that I used to have few years back. I haven't had it for quite a few years - thanks to the aloe vera gel and if this heartburn continues I might have to continue taking the aloe vera gel when I get back.

I google search for ways to reduce the blood pressure naturally and I came across a suggestion to breath slowly - say 10 breath per minute. I have been practising it if I cannot get to sleep and it works. Breathing slowly puts us in a alpha mode and the body will relax, hence reducing the blood pressure. That explains why the nurses always take the BP right after we get up. Probably I should try taking my pressure early in the morning tomorrow...

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Final visit to the hospital

It's exactly a week today that I told the Oncology Research Unit that I wanted to terminate the clinical trial as I'll be leaving soon. The nurse set an appointment for me to see the Oncologist last Monday. The doctor is a little bit worried about me not having any treatment around one month prior to leaving home. He suggested that I continue until two weeks before I leave. Hard headed as I am, I just said that it won't be necessary as I wouldn't be able to complete the whole course anyway. In actual fact, I need the energy to do all the packings and to prepare myself for the conference next month. Moreover, with the swine flu around, I don't want to risk myself being in a low immune condition. 17 deaths have been reported in the UK and I definitely don't want to add to the number :-)

I'm feeling really fine now. Sometimes, I came to think that this whole thing is a false alarm. I did ask the doctor about the recent tumor marker test. He told me it was normal. Normal? What does he mean? Does that mean that the cancer has gone and I'm all clear? How I wish it's true. Let's see the report that I requested from him recently.

In the meantime, I am not worried about my blood pressure anymore. Yesterday I came across a site which states that the rule of thumb for a normal pressure is the age + 100. The older you are, the higher the pressure is. At my age, 130/100 is around normal. As long as I don't have any headache, and I don't feel dizzy, I consider myself normal. Enjen lama (old engine) what do you expect? There surely are a lot of build ups in my capilaries and having a slightly high pressure is normal. I'm not teens or twenties anymore (in myheart maybe :-)).

Of late, I've been very busy especially with the kids' school coming to an end. Sports day to go, this and that performances and so on. Tomorrow the key stage two kids are going to Twin Lakes for their excursions. I have to prepare some curry puffs for the kids as Adli's Pakistani friend, Faisal really adores my curry puff. His mum sent in some minced meat and potatoes for the curry puff. Of course, this doesn't have to do with cancer, and I'm slightly out of topic now, but just to note here for my remembrance...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Ixabepilone, paclitaxel or none?

The appointment last Monday went well. The doctor was quite surprised that the lump is almost gone but somehow, he got the measurement which is 1.5 cm. I was supposed to report how I felt after the infusion but I just told him the feeling was just the same as the rest. What worried me was the fact that I missed my regular menstrual. Am I pregnant? I can't get pregnant during chemo and thank God the blood test result confirmed that I'm not. What a relief!

The extra virgin olive oil must have done its wonders. It must have done something to my estrogen and that's why I don't get my period. Is it good? Of course! Estrogen is also food for cancer and without it the cancer cells are starving. But am I experiencing menopause? Surprisingly, I have not felt any hot flushes as experienced by women undergoing the process. No mood swing and no sign of osteoporosis either.

I had my echo test yesterday. The result is needed for them to randomize whether I'd be on ixabepilone every three weeks or paclitaxel every week. The nurse emailed me that I'd be on paclitaxel. I opt for none. I told her that I'll be leaving soon and requested for a report for me to continue my treatment in my home country. Now that swine flu is around, I can't risk myself being in a low immune condition. The nine swine flu death cases here are those with other medical conditions. I also need to look and feel healthy when I go back as I heard, upon arrival at the airport, whoever looks sick will be sent to the hospital - for quarantine maybe?

As for my blood pressure, I don't know why it has shot up quite high today. Am I worried? Angry? Something that I eat maybe? I'd better relax myself. Hopefully the trip to Skegness this Saturday will do me good. Our student union is organising its first family outing and this time is to Skegness, around 2 hours drive from here. We will go by bus and I'm sure the kids will be thrilled. The last time we went to the seaside was last year, during our camping trip at Wales. It was quite cold and windy during that time and we didn't get to touch the water. With this kind of weather, we might be able to walk on the shore...

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

I'll be back soon!

Long silence eh? One entry only for the month of June? It is because I'm keeping myself busy as in less than two months, I'll be in my home country! Just in time for fasting month and Syawal or Eid as they term it here.

The environment is not friendly to me anymore especially during the summer as I constantly get hayfever - my eyes turn red almost everyday. I can't be taking antihistamine, the hayfever relief medicine everytime. Who knows what side effects I might have. So the best thing is to go back where I belong. Besides, my husband has to resume work in November; I can't be staying by myself here and manage everything like I did before.

Wherever I am, my work is not affected as I will still continue with my study till the end. This last two month would be a marathon for me as I need to have draft of few chapters before I leave so that I can have a peace in mind embracing Ramadhan and Syawal when I get back. I'm also preparing stuff for the conference in Dublin in August. And right after the conference, I'll fly back.

Friends who know that I'm leaving have been asking about my treatment. Well, I have completed all four cycles of the Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide and I'm due for either paclitaxel or ixabepilone when I get back from my course next week. I don't intend to infuse anymore drug as even if I have it, I won't be able to complete it. So, might as well not having it at all as I need the energy for my marathon as well as packing my stuff to bring back home. I haven't told my doctor yet and will do it during the next visit on 6/7/09. I'll be meeting my breast care nurse too as recently she called to find out how I was doing and she was also planning to set an appointment with the surgeon. I guess I don't need one since I'll be leaving soon. The lump is gone and I don't see a need to go for surgery. I read in the article on John Hopkin's update recently that surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites. As my mother said, "bondo elok buek apo bongka2 (in loghat Negeri Sembilan) I'd better not having surgery at all. Whether I still have it or I might be cancer-free by now, the most important thing is to watch my diet. And back home I have a ceragem massage bed where I can massage my body everyday. I read in the Internet about a lady whose cancer is cured or controlled by massaging everyday and hopefully it works on me too. No worry, Ramadhan is coming, who know I might encounter the lailatul Qadar and my wish will come true...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

4th cycle today

I had my 4th cycle of chemo this morning. It went well although I was a little bit worried as a new nurse was doing it for me. Yesterday when she drew out blood from me, the blood spilled and stained the pillow as well. Luckily today she was handling it well. I noticed that the doses of Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide were reduced and the infusion took lesser time to complete. Thank God this is the last dose of these drugs and I'm responding well to the treatment; the lump has shrunk around 50%. At times I could not feel the lump anymore :-)

My next appointment with the Oncologist will be in a month time. I managed to psycho them to postpone the next one for a week because I need to go for a week course in Warwick. When I come back from the course, I'd have to for more checkups like echo test, ct scan etc for them to select at random of which drug I'll have for the next 12 weeks. If it's Ixabepilone, I'll have it every three weeks which I prefer as I'll have time to go for the conference in Dublin this coming August. If it's paclitaxel, too bad I will have it weekly for 12 weeks, meaning more frequent trips to the hospital. Luckily they are sending a taxi everytime I go to the hospital, as part of the clinical trial deal. Allah is great; when we have no car, He makes it easy for me to go to and come back from the hospital at ease. Every ride to the hospital, I keep thinking how fortunate I'm and for that, Alhamdulillah...

Early of the month, the weather was bright and shiny and my biggest obstacle during this season is hay fever. I cannot stand the pollen, and as the result my eyes were swollen red last week. Now that the weather is a bit cooler, and it rains almost everyday, the pollen is controlled and my eyes are back to normal. I can't take any chances and during my appointment last Monday, I requested for some medication to treat the symptoms of hay fever. I now have Chlorphenamine for that.

All in all, I can't wait til this is over. I can't wait to go back home especially now that it's durian season in my hometown. Will the cancer like durian? I don't know and I don't care, if the king fruit is in front of me, I can easily eat 3 or 4 whole fruit at one go. Imagine how good the smell of the urine will be. I really get tired of my urine smell now - the smell of drugs...

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Cancer is common

Few days back I received a text from my friend telling that her sister has just been diagnosed with BC. It has become common to have BC nowadays. Every friend who knows I have BC, will also inform that their close family or neighbour has BC stage so and so and is having treatment so and so. Cancer is often associated with death. I read an interesting news today about a man with terminal cancer, who is set to win thousands of pounds after betting he would not die before June. He has had mesothelioma cancer (related to asbestos) for 38 months and is considered as death sentence as the longest surviving patient was 25 months after diagnosis. One thing I like about what he said is that he wasn't that fussed when he was diagnosed as everyone has to die some time. But the interesting thing for him was how long it would take, would it take weeks, months or years...

For me, there is nothing wrong about having BC. I would have to adapt myself to it. If without it I'm free to do whatever I want, with it, I might have to limit some activities. For instance, if last time I can go out whenever I want, but now, while having my chemo, I would have to stay indoor much of the time. At the point of writing, it is bright and sunny outside but I can't go out and enjoy the sun as I can easily get burned, so I chose to stay in. Besides, the pollen is not good for me, yesterday I went out to hang the clothes to dry, my eyes have started swollen - sign of hay fever. I put on extra virgin oil around my eyes and luckily it's gone now. What a discovery as I never knew the extra virgin oil can also soothe the itchy feeling caused by hay fever...

Coming back to my sister's friend who has just been diagnosed, my friend was asking for my advice on how to go forward. Hmmm, it's quite a tough job as I don't know how the treatment like over there. As I said before, every BC is unique and it depends on the person's body chemistry. Her Oncologist would be the best person to decide on what treatment is suitable for her. My best move was to refer her to my friend Raden who is very well experienced in this matter...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Down with diarrhea

One week after the infusion, I'm down with diarrhea again. I had it during my first cycle, free of it during my second cycle, and had it again during my third cycle. Don't know whether it's the effect of the chemo or infections from my kids. Adli had it during the weekend, on Monday Adnin and Aqilah were down with it, and it's now my turn. It was really bad yesterday; the nausea feeling was unbearable that I had to take the anti-sickness pills again. Thank God I'm feeling much better today; still have the loose bowels but at least my appetite has come back. When I'm able to eat, I have the energy to do my regular chores including being infront of my computer.

This week is a mid-term break for the kids. May is full of break - we had our bank holiday again last Monday which we spent quitely at home. Friends took advantage of the long weekend to go for BBQ out of town. Without a car, we had to forgo it this time. During my recent trip to town, I bought the disposible BBQ set from Poundworld. One of these sunny days, we might have our own BBQ at our backyard. Of course, we have to be very careful not to burn the meat as carcinogen is not good as it is the friend of the big C!

I had a chat with my sisters yesterday through YM. They wanted to see my hair. Initially they said it didn't really look bald. Not until I showed them the top and the back of my head that they screamed! Haa'ahhh... Frankly, I'm afraid of looking at myself at the mirror now. Then I cool myself off by telling that it's temporary. I'll gain my true look again when it's all over. I met a new friend who is on the same boat as I'm. She is going for a natural treatment to treat her cancer. I wish I'd have gone through the same route as her. I hope that we can get better acquainted so that we can learn from each other. It's not too late for me as I can still terminate the clinical trial whenever I want...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Herceptin treatment

I was reading a comment on Raden's blog yesterday, about herceptin treatment for BC. Wondering what it's about, I began to google on it. Believe it or not, the treatment that I'm going through now is actually herceptin treatment.

Earlier on before I started the treatment, the Oncologist was eager to find out the result of my HER2. My earlier posting, I did mention that I'm HER2 positive, meaning the cancer cell can spread aggressively. Here is a caption from a booklet that I found on the net about HER2.

HER2 stands for Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2. Each normal breast cell
contains copies of the HER2 gene, which helps normal cells grow. The HER2 gene is
found in the DNA of a cell, and this gene contains the information for making the
HER2 protein.
The HER2 protein, also called the HER2 receptor, is found on the surface of some normal
cells in the body. In normal cells, HER2 proteins help send growth signals from outside
the cell to the inside of the cell. These signals tell the cell to grow and divide.
In HER2+ breast cancer, the cancer cells have an abnormally high number of HER2 genes
per cell.When this happens, too much HER2 protein appears on the surface of these
cancer cells. This is called HER2 protein overexpression. Too much HER2 protein is
thought to cause cancer cells to grow and divide more quickly. This is why
HER2+ breast cancer is aggressive.
Luckily the drugs that I'm getting now, the doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide are actually part of herceptin treatment. Some definitions on the drugs :

DOXORUBICIN – Included in a class of chemotherapy drugs (anthracyclines) used to inhibit or
prevent the development and growth of cancer cells.

CYCLOPHOSPHAMIDE – Included in a class of chemotherapy drugs (alkylating agents) that
promotes cancer cell death.
There are some nice pictures on how the HER2 looks like but I can't find a way to copy it as it's in PDF format.
What's so good about herceptin treatment? It is actually increasing the chance of staying cancer-free longer. The nightmare of cancer survivors would be the chances of recurrence. If we have some information on the nature of the cells, we would know how to control the condition and reduce the chance of recurrence.
I had a text from my sister this morning regarding extra virgin olive oil, being the cure for cancer, as she saw it on TV. I read up on the net this morning and amazed to find out that the recent findings of Javier Menendez from Catalan Institute of Oncology and Antonio Seguara from the University of Granada in Spain, along with their team of researchers, found out the parts of olive oil that were most active against cancer. Their findings reveal that all major complex phenols present in extra-virgin olive oil considerably suppresses over-expression of the cancer gene HER2 in human breast cancer cells.
What a breakthrough! One teapoon of virgin olive oil morning and one at night will do for now. I also came to know that Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and is a great source of vitamin E, having antioxidant properties. It also protects against heart disease, lowers blood pressure, prevents the formation of blood clots and helps to maintain better intestinal and liver functions.
One great caution about the herceptin treatment is that Herceptin treatment can result in heart problems, including those without symptoms (reduced heart function) and those with symptoms (congestive heart failure). Hopefully by taking the extra virgin oil it will protect myself from having heart disease...

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Had my third cycle yesterday

I had my third cycle yesterday. It was as smooth as a breeze... I didn't feel bad at all during the night. Hands and feet felt numb when I awoke at 1 am last night, but it was bearable. If it's not because of the noise by the next door neighbour, I'd be sleeping like a log til 4 am for my morning prayer. I guess the yoga that I practise everyday played an additional role for my peaceful sleep at night.

They prescribed me with Pegfilgrastim yesterday, the medication to boost the bone marrow. This time I didn't get the help of the district nurse. In fact, my husband became my nurse and injected the medication on my belly. I tend to recover faster with it and next week I'd be on my bike again, cycling to school.

The weather has not been good during the last few days as it has been drizzling on and off. Rupa has made an offer to pick me up whenever I need to go to school if it rains. It's an offer that I can't resist. I need to attend a seminar this Friday by a visiting Professor from Montreal, Canada. I have met him during PATAT conference last August in Montreal, and it would be thrilled to see him again here...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

From golf ball to a small marble

I had an appointment with the Oncologist this morning. As usual, blood was taken to see if I have met the right level for me to be infused again tomorrow. The drug to boost the bone marrow really works. I recovered quite fast compared to the first cycle's experience.

When the doctor measured the size of the lump, I'm pleased to learn that it has shrunk to 3 cm in diameter. Alhamdulillah, thank God the golf ball has now shrunk into a small marble. I'm responding well to the treatment and hopefully it will further shrink until it's completely gone. According to the doctor, even if it's gone, I would still need to undergo surgery. Opps, what is there to remove??? He said there could be traces of cells left as we don't know what's going on inside there. Well, will I put myself under the knife if it's completely gone? It's going to be a major decision and of course, there will be a lot of things to weigh. When the time comes, I'll do my istiharah (the additional prayer that we always do to choose) and see what it leads me to...

As the lump keeps shrinking, I keep on believing that cancer is fungus. Like other infections, when it is given medication, the problem will go away. Same goes with my BC...

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Cancer is fungus?

It has been a week since my last posting and guess what, I had lots of returning visitors yesterday. Friends might be wondering as to what I'm up too. Don't worry guys, I'm well and fine. I have been busy re-organizing my EndNote, figuring out the best strategies to start writing as in six months time I need to report (in the six mth progress report) how many chapters have I written for my thesis.

During my break time, I still read and watch videos on cancer. Once, I came across a statement that cancer is a fungi. So yesterday I google search again and found a video on this - check this out . A prominent Italian Oncologist explains his view that cancer is fungus and can be easily treated by using sodium bicarbonate.

There is also an evidence in one site about cancer being a fungi which I thought I should cut and paste here :

Fungal spores are everywhere, millions of tiny particles are in the air, and the food we eat. They can enter the body in many ways, through the intestinal tract, the nose and lungs, and organs exposed to the world at large. We generally do not develop an infection from these intruders. However, when the immune system is compromised, the tissues are poorly oxygenated, the body is malnourished, these spores become the dominant life form and begin to grow.
Dr. Otto Warburg (Nobel Prize Winner) found that simply reducing the oxygen supply to normal healthy tissue, it became cancerous. What he was really experiencing was that fungal spores, hidden in most living tissue, were able to grow aneorobically, becoming the dominant life form. Normal healthy tissue needs oxygen to live and grow, cancer and fungus cells can use sugar as their primary source of energy for growth, this is called anaerobic respiration or fermentation.

However, there are still some debates about this issue. Whatever it is, I like to think and believe that it's true. What I have done including drinking lots of oxygenated water, has shown some improvement. I can't really feel the lump anymore. It feels like the mass tissue that a normal breast should be. Moreover, the nipple is not that inverted anymore. Well, I have an appointment with my Oncologist next week and let's see what he says about it. If the lump is gone, I probably wouldn't need a surgery at all...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Alive and kicking...

Now that my fellow students have learned about my BC, I thought I should constantly post in this blog so that they know that I'm alive and kicking :-) It has been a week since my last infusion and I feel much better eventhough I caught a skin infection near my mouth. My blood count has risen I hope, as I'm not as pale as before. Thanks to Farizah for bringing me the crab meat soup. The idea came from back home, they say if one is infected by dengue fever, give him crab meat soup to boost the platelet count. It's true as I came across a site that gave me an idea of what to eat to boost the blood count - seafood! Some suggested lamb/mutton soup to boost the blood count. It doesn't work for me as my blood pressure shot up when I ate lamb/mutton.

It has been a good bank holiday weekend; of course I did not go out and join the crowd to hunt for bank holiday bargain. No money, stay quiet! (tara wang duk diam2 looo). Without the allowance, if we could put food on the table, it's already a blessing. No luxury, just live within our means...I've sent an appeal letter to my sponsor; this time attaching a reference letter from my doctor telling that this is a life threatening condition and I should continue with the chemo that I have started on. If they don't understand, I just don't know what they are thinking about. And as for me, whether they approve or not, I'd still stay and proceed with the treatment. I'm a free man and I get to decide what's best for my life. If I die, they are not going to mourn for my loss, my family will. At most, my employer will talk about it for a week; after that they will simply find a replacement for me. Those emails in circulation about treating your family first, is very much true. So, to my workaholic friends out there, work smart. Don't stay til too late at the office, cheerish your family while you can.

I'm quite touched about the news this morning about the gunmen in Turkey killing 44 in wedding massacre. What has happened to the world now as there seems to be no peace at all! A wedding is supposed to be a happy and joyful ceremony and it turned out to be a massacre. Morale of the story, life is so fragile and we should always be ready...

Friday, 1 May 2009

Some useful indicators

In my recent readings I found some useful indicators that might be useful to everybody as a precautionary measure. I'd just copy & paste here for easier understanding :

Chinese concepts. Dr. Chi reports that 80% of cancer patients lack some of the half-moons on their fingernails, and have teeth-marks (indentations) on the sides of their tongues. Look at the fingernails. There should be half-moons at the base of the thumbnail and the nails of the first three fingers. Not the pinkies. If there are less than 4 half-moons on each hand, this indicates low cellular oxygenation. Enzymes and Vein Lite have been used by some to increase half-moons.

True enough, I have the half-moon on my thumbs only which indicate that my cells lack the oxygen and hence, a good environment for the cancer cells to grow.

Look at the tongue. Scallops or indentations along the edge are called "teeth-marks. This can indicate edema, low immunity and poor digestion. Use cooked asparagus or Chi's "Asparagus Extract" as directed on the bottle. There are reports of cancer recoveries from eating asparagus daily. Canned is fine. Puree it and take 1/4 cup twice a day. People have also reported that taking iodine corrects teeth-marks.

I have the teeth-marks too :-) So, what do I do now? Fida stopped by yesterday to pass me the virgin black seed oil. TQ Fida. In our country it's called jintan hitam. I have started to take it this morning. It doesn't taste good but what the hack, I need to get better.

I should also try the asparagus as suggested above. I recently had an email from a friend that asparagus can help cure cancer. Oh well, every suggestion helps...

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Second infusion today

I had my second infusion this afternoon. It was quite busy at the treatment room today, almost all seats were taken and the nurses were really busy. I had my blood taken to test whether the blood count has increased. Last week the reading was 1.3 and it must be more than 1.5 to be infused again. Thank God, today my blood count has increased to 4.2. My bone marrow is quite slow in producing the blood cells and as the result, they prescribed my with something to boost my bone marrow to produce more cells so that I won't miss the three week cycle for the next infusion. It needs to be injected 24 hours after the infusion. They have scheduled for a district nurse to visit me tomorrow to inject the medicine.

This time I did not wear the cold cap. I see no point of wearing it as I lost my hair anyway. I've lost 50% of it already, I might as well lose them all. I've never been bald before, why not be one for a change! After all, bald is beautiful. Babies look sweet being bald. I've got to check with my mum whether I was bald then.

The infusion went smooth; still the same Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide. I should expect the same nausea feeling, taste change and sore mouth. I just need to check my body temperature everyday, if it goes above 38 degree celcius, I would have to go to the hospital. Hopefully it will not reach 38. I just have to stay indoor as my immunity is low. With the swine flu around, I'd better stay in and keep myself busy. There are lots of papers to read and writings to be done.

I reached home quite late and my stomach was growling. Luckily there were some porridge courtesy of Ina Adam. TQ Ina if you are reading. I did not receive my allowance this time; they say they have overpaid me. Well, rezeki Allah ada dimana-mana...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sudden surge in my hits

I'm quite amazed to see a sudden surge in my hits. When I created the blog, I purposely set the hits so that I would know whether my blog is being visited or not. I presume this current surge is because of Raden, our star blogger who currently launched her book - Kanser Payudaraku. I certainly have ordered one and can't wait to read it! Thank you Raden for including me on your sidebar. So, will I be another star in-the-making? Perasan... Well, breast cancer experience is very unique; what I am going through is totally different from Raden's or others' as it depends on individual's stage, grade, HER2 receptors and estrogen/progesteron receptors. My kind of treatment is kind of unique too. Usually when one is diagnosed, the immediate reaction is to be under the knife, followed by chemo and radiation. At least that was what my sister-in-law (BC survivor) did when she was diagnosed 12 years back. She had total mastectomy including some of her glands. When it was sent for biopsy, her glands were not affected at all. What a waste...

My friend was asking me as to why I need to shrink the tumor first when I can get it removed instantly. That was a good alternative isn't it. Over here in the UK, they let the patient decide on what kind of treatment that the patient prefers. Since I'm studying, I can't afford to be away for a long time, so I told my breast care nurse that I want a treatment that is fast for me to recover, and doesn't take too long in the operation theater as I worry that I might wake up in another world and not in this world (you know what I mean - dead looo). So they gave me suggestions as posted in my earlier postings. When the Oncologist saw that my BC grade was 2/3, he suggested that I go for chemo first and hopefully when the tumour has shrunk, I'd just go for lumpectomy - removing the tumour only and not the whole breast. So, incase you are reading and you are being diagnosed (nauzubillah), don't just cepat melatah and go for surgery there and then, unless your grade is 3/3 or your type is the Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) when the spreading rate is very fast like a superwoman!

Going back to the surge in my hits, this is actually what I want to share with you guys, my treatment here in the UK. Yesterday I had a call from my breast care nurse asking me how I feel and how I'm getting on with my research and so on. Since I have been on my chemo, I have been liaising with the Oncology Research and I did not go and visit her at the Breast Institute. Guess what that single call affects me psychologically...It's really good to know that they really care and in a way, it's telling my mind that I will survive. Is this being practise elsewhere? If you are reading and you have the same experience, maybe you could provide me with an answer.

I had a bad news too yesterday. Our senior when I was in secondary school, died of heart attack when he was attending a seminar. Innalillah... I think it is more tragic than having a BC huh. At least I have my warning. It's a warning that I have not done enough.

My friend was telling me that she is going away for a weekend getaway just the two of them. She said, jangan jeles... To tell you the truth, I'm not jealous at all, infact, we usually do it especially during our anniversaries. We told the kids that, mak gi course, abah teman mak (I'm attending course and the father is following me). Well, the only place that I want to go next is to Mekah. I've been there in 1998 for my Haj. Guess how much sins I have re-collected in 11 years...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Second infusion postponed til next week

I met the oncologist again this afternoon for another biopsy. The reason for another biopsy is that I'm involved in the genetic study; the previous one was a sample for being involve in the trial, and this time is for the genetic study. I told him about the long-lasting bruises and the mass that I thought was the tumor which has spread. Luckily it's not. The needle of the last biopsy must have hit a vein and there was an internal bleeding. It will go off. Today's one is much better. It didn't bleed that much and it wasn't painful at all.

One good news for today, the tumour has shrunk a bit. The last measurement was 4.5 cm and it has gone down to 4.0 cm. The affected glands under the armpit have shrunk as he could not feel them anymore. What a relief! My graviola, lemon grass tea, yoga, ozone treatment and the prayers really help. Alhamdulillah.

The second infusion which was scheduled for tomorrow, has been postponed to next week. He felt sorry for my sore mouth and thought that it should be treated before I go for the second infusion. He prescribed for me some antibiotics and the oral rinse to help ease the pain.

I'm having 'bubur McD' today. We had our helwa gathering last Saturday and the host, Mazlina or Mama2D gave a demo on how to prepare it and we get to bring some home (like berkat for kenduri) . My two younger daughters finished it off almost instantly. Since my mouth is still sore, something soft would be good, so I cooked some.

My weight has also gone down a bit. Other people have been trying hard to lose weight and mine came down naturally. Well, having cancer is not too bad huh :-). Cancer anyone? This reminds me of the comments from Mamayati & Raden. Glad to know you, ladies. Although people say I'm a one tough cookie, a strong support from friends who share the same experience will really help...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Back to school for seminar

Boy it feels good to cycle again to school. We had a talk by Prof David E Goldberg, the writer of Genetic Algorithms for Search, Optimization, and Machine Learning. His book has been widely cited by people in the area of Optimization and since my supervisor highly recommends us to go for this talk, I thought I shouldn't miss the opportunity. It was a good talk and it was soothing to listen to the american slang again as it reminds me of the old times when I was in Oregon.

I was excited to see my colleagues again; they say I'm like my regular self, no difference at all. My scarf did a good job in hiding my other side effects of the chemo - hair loss.

I was quite sad to see a handful of hair at the bath tub hole after my shower this morning. When I comb my hair, a handful more; I guess the cooling cap doesn't really work huh. My hair is everywhere, on my clothes, on the carpet, on the pillow. I hope it won't get into our food! Other people usually shave their head during this time but I don't think I can do it. Without my hair I'd look like 'toyol', a mythical spirit in the malay mythology. Luckily, I still have my eyebrow and eyelashes. But based on my father's experience (he had chemo for his non-hodgkin lymphoma disease), every hair would be affected, even the pubic hair would drop off!

I brought back some more books from the office. Two of my abstracts have been accepted for conferences; one in Dublin in August, and one more in Bonn, Germany (in July). I now have to work hard to produce the full papers for journals. I really hope that the subsequent chemo would follow the same pattern of the first one as in between the grogginess, I manage to continue with my research. I'm not calling it a quit at this point of time as I've spent almost two years on my research. As the malay proverb says, alang-alang menyeluk pekasam, biar sampai ke pangkal lengan...

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Sore mouth

It has been two weeks after the infusion, and I'm now having one of the side effects - sore mouth. I have blisters/ulcers in my mouth and it surely is painful. I can't seem to enjoy solid food and as the result, we had bubur lambuk (porridge) with lots of lemon grass in it, for our lunch. Everyone seems to enjoy it; a full pot cleared at one go, no leftover :-)

Nadia dropped by to hand in more lemon grass and I now have months of supply. If you are reading Nadia, probably you could hold it for a while and I'll inform when I run out of it :-) It has been hard without a car; we are back to square one - I walk to get my groceries and my husband has to cycle to a farther location to get our supply. What a good exercise huh.

My ozonator is here already and I'm still figuring out the best location to install it. I have recieved a little warning from a friend about the ozone treatment. Well, I have done my research and I kind of know how to weigh what is good and what is bad for me. After all, we are our own doctor. Some might think I'm stubborn for not following their suggestions. Let it be, I believe in what I'm doing. When I believe in it, it will trigger in my brain and whatever I believe, will really happen. Just like Leon Jackson said in his song :

there can be miracles
when you believe
though hope is frail
it's hard to kill
who knows what miracle you can achieve
when you believe, somehow you will
You will when you believe...

I had a call from the nurse yesterday for another appointment next Monday. They are going to do another biopsy which I really dread. The bruises from the last biopsy has not gone yet and too bad I'd have to go through it again. And if the blood count has increased, I'm due for the second infusion on Tuesday. Still a long way to go...

Monday, 13 April 2009

3D animation videos on Cancer

I was googling videos on breast cancer yesterday and guess what I found - 3D animation video on how the cancer cells look like. It is here at, click on Videos and animation, and have fun learning Biology again! What I like about it is that it helps in my visualisation. Whenever I drink my graviola or my lemon grass tea, or reciting the prayers to shrink or kill the cancer cells, I can visualise that the cancer cells died like in the video.

I have already added another blog in my favourite list - Dr Hasanah's entries. I found it through Raden's link. Congratulation Raden for having your own book. I plan to write my own too and I hope it will materialise during this period of hybernation. Spring has sprung and I really need to stay indoor as I'm proned to get hay fever. Since my first chemo, I've been out once, last Saturday, to Aldi around 5 minutes walk from my home, to get some groceries. It was drizzling at that time and I'm pretty sure there is no pollen hanging on the air!

I'm doing really well with the after chemo effect. My blood pressure has gone back to normal - 106/86, body temperature at around 36 degree celcius. My taste bud is ok although I do have sore mouth. I have a good night sleep and I wake up feeling fresh. For all these, Alhamdulillah...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Young Dracula

We were watching Young Dracula on TV yesterday and I passed a remark, "Dracula wouldn't want to suck my blood." My innocent boy was curious and asked, "why?". I bluntly replied, "because I have cancer...". The whole family burst into laughter :-)

The kids are on two weeks Easter break and since I'm grounded, and our car is a total loss because of the accident, we have no where to go. I kind of pity them as they envy their friends having to travel and go for vacations during the holiday. No worries, as long as we have each other to keep us company, it really is a blessing.

As they have no where to go, they are invading my computer and my work space. I now have constructed a new work space down at the corner of my dining room.

I'm practising a basic yoga through a dvd/book that I bought from a charity shop during my recent course. At least it helps as I heard, yoga is good to help cure cancer. I know some friends might object to this as in my country, yoga is banned by our religious belief. Well, I'm doing it for the sake of exercising and if it helps to make me feel better, why not?

E-book on One-minute cure all diseases

In my quest to know more and more about cancer, I came across an ebook written by a doctor who had 3 of his family members died of cancer. I had to buy it for USD39.95 but the information was worth it!

This ebook has given me the answer that I'm looking for. Believe it or not, every human being has cancer cells in his or her body. Mine has triggered because my body lacks of OXYGEN. In a low-oxygen environment, cancer cells can multiply into a full-blown disease. In my case, the lump has turned cancerous.

Cancer cells are anaerobic, meaning they can live in an insufficient oxygen environment. But when they are given lots of oxygen, they will die. In the ebook, the author has been preaching about oxygen therapy, namely ozone and hydrogen peroxide. I'm willing to try the ozone and have already bought an ozonator for my drinking water. Hydrogen peroxide? I don't dare to try it yet as it sounds scary...

Now that I know the root cause of my disease, I intend to treat it at root. My sister and friends have been persuading me to take Transfer Factor which they say could reduce the size of the tumour. From my reading, TF is boosting the immune system and guess what it's made of? Colustrum and egg. And how much does a monthly consumption cost? RM750! And it's through Direct Selling. No wonder the uplines are making a hefty sum of RM45K per month. Good money eh? If they really want to help, why are they taking advantage of other people's mishap? How many cows and chickens are there in this world that could produce colustrum and eggs? Going back to the ebook, in the introduction section, the author was telling about disease being a big business. Pharmaceutical companies makes lots of profits and often times the drugs do not cure the disease but to relief the symptoms so that the patients have to continually take the medicine. Nutritionist would not want to be left behind as they are taking advantage and making profits too. They would say that their products are not medicine, but supplements to help cure the disease. NONSENSE!

As far as my immune is concerned, I guess I still have a strong immune system as I feel fine with the after chemo effect. No doubt I feel a bit nausea, like a pregnant woman (although I'm not pregnant). But then again, I have experienced it five times already through my pregnancies and I can pretty well cope with it. My intention now is to really work hard on my PhD, finish it as fast as I can so that I can go back to my home country. When I get back, I would like to settle down in my hometown where there are abundance of oxygen (a country life as they term it here). I'm going to breed my own chickens and fishes or cows for that matter, and plant my own vegetables. I want to lead a healthy life and who knows I might live to see my great grandchildren...

Friday, 3 April 2009

My first chemo

I had my first chemo last Tuesday 31/3/09. These are some snapshots on how it's done. It's not that bad. The drugs are injected into the vein. One good thing being in the cold weather, when the nurse poked the needle, it's not that painful at all.

I'm wearing a cold cap to help reduce hair loss. It reminds me of the Combat movie when I was little, hence I name this cold cap "topi combat". It is worn 15 minutes before the treatment, and it has to be changed every 45 minutes throughout the treatment. For the whole two hour duration, my husband has got to run upstairs to get the cold cap from the freezer.

These are the drugs that got into my vein. The red coloured one is Doxorubicin; two tubes of it. In between the nurse injected in the anti sickness medication. Then only the big bag of Cyclophospamide is dripped into the vein. Surprisingly, I don't feel hot at all. With the saline (salt water) and those much drugs that got into my vein, the one thing that I need was to pee. Luckily the nurse warned me that my urine might be pinkish. True enough, I had a pink urine! Put some milk on it, it would become "air bandung"... one of our country's favourite drink :-)

The cold cap needs to be worn 45 minutes after the treatment too and while waiting, the nurse made us coffee and offered us biscuits. What a service! No way we can get it anywhere else.

How is my after effect of the chemo? Right after, I felt a bit dizzy but I can walk around the house at ease. My taste bud is also alright; I was really hungry when I get back, luckily Nadia brought me "sambal ikan bilis" and her crysenthemum tea...

I had problem during the night whereby the whole body felt numb; even my face felt "semut2". My joints were aching and I had a terrible time sleeping. I've been tossing around for almost two hours, can't get to sleep, envying my husband snoring, that I went down and made myself a hot chocolate and oats. I applied my aloe very icy cool to relieve the aching and Alhamdulillah, I managed to get some sleep.

Yesterday and today is also fine. I notice that my taste bud is getting funny, so when I cook, my husband gets to taste it. Luckily I don't have sore mouth yet. I guess the lemon grass tea helps. I've been drinking lots of fluids and taking lots of fruits. Aldi is nearby our house where we can get good supply of fruits; kiwi fruit 6 for 49p, apples 49p, grapes 69p, oranges 69p...oww!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Lemon grass, a cure for cancer?

I recently had an email from my friend that lemon grass can cure cancer. Another wonder of tropical rainforest! Here's some info about lemon grass.
The article is by Allison Kaplan Sommer:
‘At first, Benny Zabidov, an Israeli agriculturalist who grows greenhouses full of lush spices on a pastoral farm in Kfar Yedidya in the Sharon region, couldn’t understand why so many cancer patients from around the country were showing up on his doorstep asking for fresh lemon grass.
‘It turned out that their doctors had sent them.
‘’They had been told to drink eight glasses of hot water with fresh lemongrass steeped in it on the days that they went for their radiation and chemotherapy treatments,’ Zabidov told ISRAEL21c. ‘And this is the place you go to in Israel for fresh lemon grass.’
‘It all began when researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev discovered last year that the lemon aroma in herbs like lemon grass kills cancer cells in vitro, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
‘The research team was led by Dr. Rivka Ofir and Prof. Yakov Weinstein, incumbent of the Albert Katz Chair in Cell-Differentiatio n and Malignant Diseases, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at BGU.
‘Citral is the key component that gives the lemony aroma and taste in several herbal plants such as lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), Melissa (Melissa officinalis) and verbena (Verbena officinalis. )
‘According to Ofir, the study found that citral causes cancer cells to ’commit suicide: using apoptosis, a mechanism called programmed cell death.
‘A drink with as little as one gram of lemon grass contains enough citral toprompt the cancer cells to commit suicide in the test tube.
‘The BGU investigators checked the influence of the citral on cancerous cells by adding them to both cancerous cells and normal cells that were grown in a petri dish. The quantity added in the concentrate was equivalent to the amount contained in a cup of regular tea using one gram of lemon herbs in hot water. While the citral killed the cancerous cells, the normal cells remained unharmed.
‘The findings were published in the scientific journal Planta Medica, which highlights research on alternative and herbal remedies. Shortly afterwards, the discovery was featured in the popular Israeli press.
‘Why does it work? Nobody knows for certain, but the BGU scientists have a theory.
‘’In each cell in our body, there is a genetic program which causes programmed cell death. When something goes wrong, the cells divide with no control and become cancer cells. In normal cells, when the cell discovers that the control system is not operating correctly - for example, when it recognizes that a cell contains faulty genetic material following cell division it triggers cell death,’ explains Weinstein. ‘This research may explain the medical benefit of these herbs.’
‘The success of their research led them to the conclusion that herbs containing citral may be consumed as a preventative measure against certain cancerous cells.
‘As they learned of the BGU findings in the press, many physicians in Israel began to believe that while the research certainly needed to be explored further, in the meantime it would be advisable for their patients, who were looking for any possible tool to fight their condition, to try to harness the cancer-destroying properties of citral.
‘That’s why Zabidov’s farm - the only major grower of fresh lemon grass in Israel - has become a pilgrimage destination for these patients. Luckily, they found themselves in sympathetic hands. Zabidov greets visitors with a large kettle of aromatic lemon grass tea, a plate of cookies, and a supportive attitude.
‘’My father died of cancer, and my wife’s sister died young because of cancer,’ said Zabidov. ‘So I understand what they are dealing with. And I may not know anything about medicine, but I’m a good listener.And so they tell me about their expensive painful treatments and what they’ve been through. I would never tell them to stop being treated, but it’s great that they are exploring alternatives and drinking the lemon grass tea as well.’
‘Zabidov knew from a young age that agriculture was his calling. At age 14, he enrolled in the Kfar Hayarok Agricultural high school. After his army service, he joined an idealistic group which headed south, in the Arava desert region, to found a new moshav (agriculturalsettlement) called Tsofar.
‘’We were very successful; we raised fruits and vegetables, and,’ he notes with a smile, ‘We raised some very nice children.’
‘On a trip to Europe in the mid-80s, he began to become interested in herbs.
Israel , at the time, was nothing like the trend-conscious cuisine-oriented country it is today, and the only spices being grown commercially were basics like parsley, dill, and coriander.
‘Wandering in the Paris market, looking at the variety of herbs and spices, Zabidov realized that there was a great export potential in this niche. He brought samples back home with him, ‘which was technically illegal,’ he says with a guilty smile, to see how they would grow in his desert greenhouses.
Soon, he was growing basil, oregano, tarragon, chives, sage, marjoram and melissa, and mint just to name a few.
‘His business began to outgrow his desert facilities, and so he decided to move north, settling in the moshav of Kfar Yedidya, an hour and a half north of Tel Aviv. He is now selling ’several hundred kilos’ of lemon grass per week, and has signed with a distributor to package and put it in health food stores.
‘Zabidov has taken it upon himself to learn more about the properties of citral, and help his customers learn more, and has invited medical experts to his farm to give lectures about how the citral works and why.
‘He also felt a responsibility to know what to tell his customers about its see. ‘When I realized what was happening, I picked up the phone and called Dr. Weinstein at Ben-Gurion University , because these people were asking me exactly the best way to consume the citral. He said to put the loose grass in hot water, and drink about eight glasses each day.’
‘Zabidov is pleased by the findings, not simply because it means business for his farm, but because it might influence his own health. ‘Even before the news of its benefits were demonstrated, he and his family had been drinking lemon grass in hot water for years, ‘just because it tastes good.'’
Luckily lemon grass is easy to find here - I can have 5 stalks for 99p. It's spring already and we can even grow them by ourselves. My husband has a good hand for lemon grass - he can plant a real big fat one!
You can also benefit from it even if you don't have cancer. Eat more tomyam, rendang, and ayam masak merah...ermmm yummy...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Out of town for course

I'm out of town for a week to attend a course. Some are amazed that I could still go away for course and not starting my chemo right away. Well, a week late won't kill; who knows how long I have been having it...

Breast cancer is actually unique and very individualised. What I have would not be the same as what other patients may have. It depends on the type of cancer, the stage and the grade of the cancer. The type of cancer that I have is the regular lump one, and can be seen clearly on the mammogram although I haven't seen mine on the screen just as yet.

When I told my friends that I have it, almost everyone has been asking "what stage is it?". To tell you the truth, I myself don't know what stage it is and when I asked the doctor about it, they also don't know until the tumour is removed and sent for biopsy. I guess they also would not want to speculate as it might scare the patient. Had I told everyone that I'm at stage 4, I'm sure everyone will come and hug me, cook for me, do chores for me, thinking that I might be dead in a few month time :-) No worries, I presume I'm still at stage 1 as a friend of mine who is doing her research on elderly breast cancer patients, said that a lump below 5 cm is still in stage 1.

The grade of the cancer is another factor to be considered. Grade 1 is the low grade, grade 2 is the intermediate, and grade 3 is the high grade. Grade 1 grows the most slowly while grade 3 grows the fastest and with the highest risk of it coming back. Mine is the intermediate and that is why the doctor is quite happy to let me go to attend course out of town.

The course that I'm attending is the series of courses that I have attended before and I'm seeing almost the same faces that attended the courses before. When I told them that I'll be going for chemo soon, they just could not believe how relax I'm. Of course they are speechless and felt like crying and again, amazed to see me taking it easily. Some of them ask whether I'm scared or not. Well, it doesn't matter if I'm scared or not, I need to be brave enough to fight this...

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Screening completed

With the CT Scan done yesterday, the screening stage is completed. I have never done CT Scan before; if you want to have an idea of how it's done or how the machine looks like, again, go to youtube :-) CT scan is like an x-ray but more advanced as it takes cross sectional images, which give a three dimensional image of the inside of the body. Before the procedure, a chemical was injected which gives funny hot feelings in the mouth and all over the body. It feels like wanting to pee too :-)

My blood pressure remains high, which worries me. See what the doctor says next week as the nurse will inform the doctor about it. I hope it won't delay the chemo which the first cycle is currently scheduled on 31/3.

I have added another link to my favourites, MacMillan Cancer Support which has some info about the chemo drugs that I'll be having. Follow the link below for the side effects of the drug.

This morning I had the chance to resume my weekly exercise class - Poco-Poco. It really feels gooood...

Friday, 20 March 2009

Think positive

I was washing dishes yesterday morning when I heard in the radio about the impact of one terminal cancer patient (who's story has been widely publicised) to other cancer patients. I prefer not to mention name here but if you are in the UK, you'd know who I meant. To me, thinking positive really helps in battling the cancer. It's even agreed by the cervical cancer survivor that the radio broadcaster interviewed. She was diagnosed when she was 36, and she is now 51. Of course she has undergone all the chemos and radiotherapies. She said when she had the chemo, she would visualize and tell the good cells to hide away and visualized that the chemo drugs attacking the cancer cells. Well, that's what I do when I recite some verses of the Qura'an to kill the cancer cells. I'll do the same when I have the chemo.

I had another visit to the hospital yesterday. The nurse gave me a briefing on the side effects of the chemo drugs and what precautions I should take. I had my weight and height taken and also my blood! To my surprise, when my blood pressure was measured, the reading was way to high! I've never reached 165/110 before as usually mine was 110/70 and at most 130/80. How could it be? Probably I'm feeling anxious of what I'm going through at the moment or probably that treatment area made my blood pressure goes up. The lady who was having her infusion at that time told me that her blood pressure was way too high too during her first visit. What a relief! Anyhow the nurse will measure my blood pressure again today before I go for my CT scan in the afternoon. I had my Echo test yesterday. Echocardiogram (Echo) is actually an untrasould study of the heart. I have never done Echo before and all this while I have been seeing Adnin and Aqilah having it. It's really tricky for a lady to have it as the breast stays on top of the heart...

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Learn more about breast cancer through youtube...

Friends have been asking on how to do self examination, and my suggestion would be to go to youtube and search for breast dot dot dot. There are lots of videos on breast self examination, there is also a video on self examination for man. If you are a man and reading this, don't think you can escape from it - men can also get breast cancer!

I have been viewing some videos on youtube too to find out more about this. I have watched the videos by the professors of UCSF that I found very useful to understand what I'm going through and the treatment that I will go though.

Today, there is a news on Yahoo about mushroom and green tea which can lower the risk of breast cancer and also good for treating breast cancer. I like mushroom and I have green tea in stock. Probably I should give it a try.

To fans of Darth Vader (my husband is one of them), the actor of Darth Vader is also on treatment for cancer - prostate cancer...

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Special visitor came to visit

Last Saturday, our Education Attache, Puan Azimah and her husband came all the way from Manchester to visit. I'm very pleased to see her and really appreciate her strong support in this.

Another occasion that cheered me up during the weekend was being able to communicate with my daughter back in my home country. She is sitting for a major exam this year and I hope this news doesn't affect her in her studies. True enough, she's as strong as her mother; all that she asked was "how could it happen?" Good question Aina, it's for you to find out. I hope it will further spark her interest in becoming a doctor or an Oncologist. As for me, I can only educate people about this through my own experience...

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Outcome of the meeting with the Oncologist yesterday...

The meeting on Friday was to inform about the chemo that I'll go through. Since I opt for removing just the lump and save as much breast as I can, the Oncologist (specialist in Cancer) offered me to participate in a study of two different drug treatments for Women with breast cancer before surgery : Doxorubicin and Cyclophospamide followed by either Ixabepilone or Paclitaxel. The names of the drugs don't make any sense to me but they would to some of my friends here, hence I mention it. I'm only concern about the side effects that I may get like :
  • low white blood cell count : increases the risk of infection and if not controlled could become life-threatening
  • Anaemia : (low red blood cell count) may make me feel tired and short of breadth
  • Decrease platelet count : increase the risk of bleeding or bruising
  • Numbness and tingling in limbs : may affect my quality of life
  • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhoea and constipation
  • Fatigue (tiredness) or weekness
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Hair loss

What choice do I have? Like it or not, I'd still have to go through this. To my surprise, when the Oncologist measured the diameter of the lump, it was 4.5 cm. The size has increased from 3.1 cm during the diagnosis. I'm now rigorously reciting the prayers (some verses in the Qura'an) to shrink/kill the cancel cells...

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Read, read and read...

The nurse gave me lots of booklets to read about breast cancer and what would the treatment be like. I've been reading about chemotherapy to understand it better so that I know what to expect during the treatment. One prominent one would be hair loss. From what I gather, there are some types that would not result in hair loss. I hope I'd get that one. I just can't imagine how I'd look like being bald! Luckily I'm always with my scarf on so that when I go out, people won't notice the difference. Cancer patients here are provided with wigs. Any suggestions on what colour should I get one? Blonde? Brunette? Black? Purple?

Yesterday the nurse gave me a book for children entitled "Mummy's lump". It uses simple words and pictures to help explain to children what happens from the time of diagnosis to the end of treatment. The breast cancer care here is very well advanced in that they even have books on how to convey the message to young children. I wonder if we have such thing in our country.

On another note, the graviola powder that I ordered has arrived. I have already tasted it, sprinkled some on my food. According to the seller, there are studies made in Japan and in Perdue University (Indiana) with exceptional results about this plant in treatments against cancer. They found a great amount of Acetogenina, a sustain that attacks cancer cells and does not destoy the good ones. Maybe I should look for some breakthroughs in breast cancer on the net. The oncologist mentioned about a clinical trial chemo drug which could be an option for me. I'll get to know more about it on Friday...